Bar Elias, Lebanon, 2018

Photo courtesy of CatalyticAction

This project reduced vulnerabilities and improved the wellbeing of the community in Bar Elias through a co-produced built intervention implemented by local refugees and host community members.

The two main issues identified by the local participants were pollution and the lack of safe spaces for children. The team decided to tackle pollution through awareness raising, while the lack of children’s spaces was addressed directly. They introduced playful elements to new benches, pavements, access ramps and shading structures for the area.

To raise awareness about reducing pollution, the team decided to use recycled materials in the different components that formed the intervention. By choosing colourful materials this also addressed the need to provide colours, which is something that the community saw as important for children. The use of recycled materials has an educational function; it concretely shows how to creatively reuse waste materials to address the needs of children and their caregivers.

Discarded tiles were collected from a local factory and recycled to produce educational mosaics that cover the benches. Plastic bottles and containers (water, shampoos, yogurt boxes, etc.) were collected by the local community and transformed into small squares that form colourful shading structures (see picture). Similarly, plastic cups from large yogurt containers, vegetable crates and ice-cream cups were assembled into other shading structures, generating colourful and playful shadows.

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